We recently mourned the loss of the Lower East Side’s Sunshine Cinema, which officially shuttered this past Sunday. Established in 2001 by the Landmark Theatre chain, the movie house on East Houston screened the latest feature films, in addition to independent and foreign titles. Faced with an impending rent hike following a 25-year lease, however, building owners sold the theater last year to developers East End Capital and K Property Group, who purchased the property for $31.5 million. Now, thanks to a new rendering, we’re getting a look at the shiny office building that will soon take over the site.
Back in November, we shared a snippet of the developers’ vision from The East End Capital website:
…East End is planning to re-develop the building into a mixed-use retail and office project. While pursuing tenants interested in utilizing the structure in its current form, work is also underway for a new, best-in-class office building with retail at the base – a first in the rapidly evolving Lower East Side. 139 East Houston will offer cutting-edge design from Roger Ferris Architecture, huge windows with expansive views, high ceilings and column-free efficient space – all on top of a subway stop in a unique and exciting location. Ground breaking is expected in the second quarter of 2018.
When completed, its nine-story office building (141 East Houston Street) will span 65,000-square-feet. Demolition of Sunshine Cinema is slated to begin in March with expected completion in late 2019, 6sqft reports. Before it’s completely brought down, make sure to pay your last respects to the 108-year-old theater by taking a last look at its classic architecture — portions of which date back 180 years, according to The Lo-Down.
The building’s storied past also includes a prior life as a Vaudeville theater for screenings. Over the years, it has been repurposed several times: in 1908, it became the Houston Athletic Center and the Houston Hippodrome (1909) for Yiddish vaudeville acts and films. Nine years later, the property changed ownership and was renamed the Sunshine before transforming yet again into the Chopin Theatre in the late 1930s.